The Floater’s Guide to a Winning Mindset
Visualization is the natural power of our minds to imagine positive paths forward. It’s a process by which we create or recreate experiences in our mind using information stored in our memory. This structured imagery is aided by a vivid imagination; the more control we have over our imaginations, the more we are able to control our performances.
When we have a firm grasp on the ways and modes of our mental imagery, and can call upon it to aid us in creatively solving problems and achieving our desired goals, then our visualizations become a regular mindset. Having an active and positive mindset is the surest way to success, beyond any physical training or skill sets we may have. It allows us to see any setbacks as challenges and to remain grateful when our work is hard.
There are many mindset techniques, each with a specific goal in mind. From sports visualization, cognitive restructuring, mental rehearsal, rational-emotive therapy, cognitive appraisal, meditation, positive self-talk, self-efficacy statements, and more. Below is a beginner’s guide to mental imagery.
BEFORE YOU FLOAT
Start with a clear idea of what your goals are; try to be as descriptive as possible. It can be helpful to know exactly what you want to imagine, for example: self confidence, improving a skill, or overcoming an injury, to name a few.
Once your goals are really clear write them down where they can be seen, like on your phone, refrigerator, desk, or bathroom mirror. The more you are reminded of your goals, the more you will hold a strong growth mindset towards achieving them.
It can be helpful to start a journal to log goals as they change over time. Plus, it’s very rewarding to revisit old entries and to realize how far you’ve come along.
A journal can be a crucial tool while setting a pre-float intention; writing things down can sometimes concretize them and help us to stay accountable.
Creating a Schedule
When it comes to actually practicing your mental imagery, being intentional about when, where, and how you’re going to practice can create consistency that leads to success as well as give you well-deserved breaks. It’s always good to avoid getting burned out!
DURING YOUR FLOAT
You do not have to practice mental imagery for the entire float, and nor do you want to. Simply practice for 10 minutes at the beginning of your session. The start of a float session, while your brain is producing alpha brain waves, is an optimal time to practice visualization. Alpha brain waves are the optimal mode for creating mental imagery. Then as you progress in your float, your brain will downshift its mode into a relaxed theta wave state, which is optimal for creativity, and has been shown to help with memory retention.
Creating a movie
You can use all your senses to create a frame-by-frame movie in your mind; one that shows you achieving what you desire and that you can play over and over in your mind, letting the scenes grow better and better as you go. Your senses will become more heightened as your belief in your desire becomes stronger and stronger. See and feel yourself performing successfully.
- Break up your imagery into specific events, for example: pre-event, practice, the event or culminating moment, and post-event.
- If your goal is longer in duration break up your imagery into 4 or 5 parts.
- Be outcome focused if you want to build confidence. Focus on what it feels like to achieve your goals, to strengthen your ability to perform, and focus on the skills your goal requires.
Find out what imagery perspective is right for you, whether it’s an internal or external perspective. An internal perspective is one wherein you might imagine how things will work inside of you, physically, mentally, or emotionally, as you achieve your goals; whereas an external perspective may include how people react, the outcome of success on elements in your life such as finances or relationships, or even watching yourself succeed.
You’ll find the most natural perspective with time. In some cases you might use both perspectives, but most people have a dominant perspective.
It’s okay if you visualize something negative; it’s good to prepare for mistakes. The key with visualization is to imagine yourself recovering immediately.
AFTER YOUR FLOAT
Recording and reflecting on your float session can help you make progress on negative thoughts that could be holding you back, identify current themes, and is a good place to store future goals or strategies that come to you while you’re in theta.
One of the best and most enjoyable ways to keep up a healthy mindset is to share your goals, progress, and practices with someone that you trust, and to share your experiences with each other. You can learn so much!
As with everything in life, visualization and mindset-growth are a practice. Make sure to regularly check in with yourself and your goals, to float, and to practice self-care, both mentally and physically.
Setting athletes up for success, not only on the field but in life, relationships, achievements and performance. http://www.kathyunderwood.net/